Monthly Archives: June 2016

Who’s That in the Mirror?

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Mature-Woman-Mirror1“You look good for your age.” I can’t decide if that’s a compliment or not?   Growing up and through my twenties and thirties, I always looked a little younger.   That appears to be diminishing.  Now, I look in the mirror and its seems as though I’ve aged 5 years in the past 2.  I actually pulled up a picture of myself from 2013 and compared it to a current picture.   Ugh, have the past 2 ½ years really been that stressful or has the stress from the last 6 years finally caught up with me?

My nighttime ritual of washing my face and brushing my teeth now includes a study in the mirror; pulling my skin back and up with my hands to see my former self.   Things are becoming a little more prevalent now:  the sag in the jaw line (jowls… sounds so sexy), deepening smile lines and multiplying wrinkles at the corners of my eyes, not to mention the circles under my eyes, which I’ve always battled.  My forehead is carved with lines and is inching down my face, hooding my eyes and making them look tired.  The gray hair is coming in thicker and wire-y; lovely when they stick straight up in my part.  Unfortunately, these things I expected and since I have no plans to have plastic surgery or use Botox, it’s going to happen.  I’m not thrilled about it, but as they say, the lines we develop show that we’ve lived life.  What I’m not prepared for are the other changes going on.

Last week, I started taking a class at a place call The Bar Method. Its exercise at a ballet bar:  lots of isometric holds, push ups and crunches and is actually quite hard.  A few other ladies my age have braved the class, but it’s mostly slender, young twenty-something-year olds.  I feel really short in class.  With floor-length mirrors on two walls, it’s not hard to notice EVERYTHING.  As we hold our arms up, I notice the swag of flesh waving underneath.  Standing next to a rather tall young lady, I see my hips and thighs bulging against my black yoga leggings; I try to pull my top down a little more.  As we do crunches, the wrinkles on my neck and chest scream at me; the sun spots and uneven skin tone accentuated even more by the lights.  All those years of sunbathing are finally showing their true face. All of this has caught me a little off guard.  The gym has been a part of my life since the early ‘90’s and I have stayed in relatively good shape.  Sure, there were some times I got slack and put some pounds on (in my brief marriage of 3 ½ years, I packed on 20 pounds).  But for the most part, all’s been good.  In those days, if I put on a few, it wasn’t extremely hard to drop them.  Now, the pounds cling to me despite how much I fight it.  Things are sagging and wagging.

Yes, I know I should not compare myself to others, especially to much younger women and I’m not striving to look like a twenty-something year old. In fact, most who do so end up looking very odd and plastic-y.  I have definitely earned my wrinkles. I don’t, however, want my body to get old before it’s time.  I want to be out doing things and in my head and heart, I’m no older than… let’s say, 30.  Because of that, I tend to forget that I’m entering the high-maintenance phase of my life.  It’s as if my body is yelling, “HEY LADY, you’re not 25 anymore!!  You can’t take a month off from the gym, eat pizza every Friday night and drink beer every weekend and expect things to stay in place.”   I am now well aware of this.

I’m trying to fight back. I’ve signed up for the Bar Method class for 6 weeks and I’ve promised myself to get in some walking too.  I toyed with trying to get back into running…. But NO.   That is one thing I don’t want to put the body through again.  I can do this with that stress.  Motivation is my weak point, or I should say, staying motivated.. and my love of eating.  I have to look at this like a project – a DIY project of sorts – to restore this 48-year-old body and feel good in it again.

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Aside

Yes, I have come to that time in life when friends are turning a half century old. I’m trying not to give them too hard of a time. I will be there soon.

Here’s a little something I did for a friend and his big 5-0…

Turning 50

I came upon a good friend who appeared in distress.
I pondered a moment, slightly worried, I confess.
This is not very like this good friend of mine;
He’s usually quite happy and not one to whine.

I asked “What’s the matter?
You’re thoughts seem quite scattered.”
Today is my birthday,” he replied with a sigh.
“I turn 50 today; A half a century has flown by.”

He seemed quite in despair.
He rattled on, “I’m losing my hair;
My bones crack and pop and my energy, well, it’s lacking.
I just want to send this growing old thing packing.”

I smiled and nodded, “I understand you completely,
But don’t look at age quite so bleakly.
You have two lovely children and a beautiful wife.
Quite frankly, you’ve had quite a wonder life.”

“I’m excited to see what the next years bring you.
Travels, celebrations, grandchildren maybe? Just a few?
Age is a number that lives in our heads,
The rumors and myths of it, we should just put to bed.”

“Still though, I am younger;
And very delighted to be.
I’m happy you are 50,
And that it’s not me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That time in life

In the name of Frugality

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In the name of Frugality

Sometimes I make things harder on myself than need be; the more difficult route  seems to call my name.  Yesterday, I spent the entire afternoon and most of the evening working on my patio.  I’ve had visions in my head of a cozy place to sit outside and relax.  Easy enough right?  Well, apparently my visions have expensive taste. The furniture I pictured, well, let’s just say, was slightly out of my already-tight budget.

Plan B. Wooden pallets.  I watch too much HGTV and peruse  Pinterest too much.  The wheels in my head start churning and I mentally start making all these plans to do this and that without really thinking through how I will actually  do this and that.  Searching “wooden pallet projects” on Pinterest is like opening the DYI’ers closet of dreams.  I thought to myself, “I’ve used pallets successfully in the past so why not again?”

palletsThis time however, the pallets seemed heavier and bigger. After lugging them up a hill and onto my patio, I had trouble moving them around.  Their sizes were slightly different, they weren’t conforming to the idea in my head and I was one short.  I flipped them, moved them around and finally decided other things had to be changed on the patio first, which lead to digging up the flower bed,  potting a gardenia and moving the table.  Finally able to get the pallets into a configuration that worked, they had to be sanded; they were a splintery mess.  As I sanded and the sweat dripped from my nose, I thought about my last experience with pallets.  Conveniently, I had not recalled the work that went into it.  I just remembered how pleased I was when it was completed.  I sanded some more, stopped to pull out a splinter and mumbled to myself, “Should have just plopped some patio furniture on the credit card, ugh.”

Back aching and getting a little sunburned, I was finally ready to paint; just plain white and only the parts that showed. At this point, I wasn’t going for perfection.  “I’ll shoot for the bohemian, shabby look…”painted pallets

Painting complete, I spent the next 10 minutes scrubbing paint off my hands and arms.  I’m a messy painter. Then I moved potted plants around from here to there and fiddled with the table trying to get it to sit correctly in the now defunct flower bed. “Great, now I need to get pavers so the table will sit level.”

I had intended to get this far and stop for the day; I would go later in the week to buy cushions. However, when I get on a roll, I can’t sit until it’s done. So, at 6:00 pm I headed out to buy cushions.  I found some on sale and considered what sizes would work best.  I shopped around and found some solar lanterns on sale (I have a thing for lanterns) and headed home.  Anxious to see how they looked,  I didn’t even go inside first.  I pulled them out and started placing them and of course something wasn’t quite right.  Now 8:00 pm, I headed back to the store, returning one cushion and buying three others.  They worked.  Finally, the cozy little area I had hoped for was reality. Tired, bruised, back aching, I took a deep breath and exhaled.  Except for some tweaking I will no doubt do later, I was done and it looked pretty damn good.finished pallets

Yes, my frugality and my “sure, I can do that” attitude may kill me one day, but I  doubt the feeling of accomplishment would have been there had I just gone out and bought the standard patio furniture.  There aren’t many things I do on a  daily basis that make me feel accomplished. Like most people, my job is just that, a job.  It pays the bills.  I love the people I work with, but I push paper all day and stare at a computer.   There’s no creative process.  Maybe I subconsciously look for projects that challenge me a bit.   I use my brain and my hands to create something.  I have something to show for my day of work.  Do I bite off more than I can chew sometimes? Well, all I can say is every project I’ve started, from tiling a back splash to faux painting a living room with a vaulted ceiling, I’ve completed.  It’s an awesome feeling saying, “Yes, I did that.”

Now.. If I just had power tools….